During the years 1857 and 1858 the situation became desperate. There was no church organization; there was no church treasury. Those who felt called to enter the ministry faced great sacrifices, for they were dependent upon gifts placed in their hands as they moved from place to place.
In the winter of 1858 God showed Ellen in vision that they must hold a Bible class so they will find that in the Scriptures there is a complete plan to sustaining the work of the ministry. James White did call for Andrews to come to Battle Creek for such a study. Several workers, including J. N. Andrews, met for two days in Battle Creek to study a Bible-based system of finance for the emerging church.
The plan that was developed became known from the outset as "Systematic Benevolence." Systematic Benevolence was early endorsed by Ellen White, and she linked it with the tithe. As the work of the church broadened, developments called for a separation of funds into two groups, "tithes" and "offerings."